Senator seeks import probe

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

A senator has sought an investigation of the importation of goods at lower tariffs.

Senator Imee Marcos lauded the compromise on the tariff for pork imports but said all minimum access volume (MAV) or imports subject to lower tariff, should be probed.

“The MAV issue doesn’t stop there because our agricultural industry continues to struggle,” she said in a statement. “It seems we are still forced to import all kinds of basic commodities.”

“Let us use this opportunity to fix the country’s twisted system of food importation — whether it’s rice or corn, pork, chicken, fish, sugar, vegetables, X’mas goodies, or fruits,” Ms. Marcos said.

“There’s no end to racketeering, it’s exasperating. Despite the entry of pests and disease, we still haven’t learned our lesson,” she added.

The Finance department has agreed to change an executive order that cut the tariff for pork imports after the Senate and the country’s economic managers reached a compromise on the issue, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said on Wednesday.

Mr. Sotto said they agreed to place the cap on the minimum access volume for pork imports at 254,000 metric tons (MT).

He said they also agreed to set the tariff on pork imports under the MAV quota at 10% for the first three months, and increase it to 15% in the succeeding nine months.

Under EO 128 signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in April, the original 30% tariff rate of the pork imports under the MAV quota would be cut to 5% in the first three months and will be raised to 10% for the succeeding nine months. — VMMV

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